Crow and her siblings and cousins had received a letter from their elderly great-aunt, inviting them once again to make the long trek south, to visit her over the winter. As always, she promised warm-ish weather, exotic food, and the chance to play with the sea birds along the water’s edge. And for roosting at night: strange trees, the likes of which the younger Crows could only imagine. Giant open canopies of gnarled branches covered in lichen, and dripping moss, and green ferns like the ones growing in the ground at home but smaller, and tiny pinwheel-shaped ferns marching in orderly lines along the bark — so unlike all the trees they were used to: the maple, birch, ash, hackberry, northern oaks, pine, and sycamore.
They all agreed it was a tempting offer, but that 600 miles was simply too far to fly. Crow said she would write their aunt a letter filled with stories of their own home garden and include in it their annual thanks and apologies.
But she secretly dreamed of giant trees … and sea birds … and the ocean.